As a port town with a popular university, Rouen is one of the liveliest places in Normandy. The right bank of the Seine (Rive Droite) is home to the Old Town and crowded with so many ancient buildings that it’s known as the ‘ville-musee’ or museum town. Claude Monet visited Rouen to paint its famous Gothic Cathedral, and Gustave Flaubert (author of Madame Bovary) was born there. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in the centre of the Old Town in 1431; a field of wild thyme marks the spot to this day. With such a rich and diverse history, Roeun’s art galleries and museums are some of the most fascinating in France.
In the third week of October, Rouen becomes a gourmand’s paradise during the Rouen food festival. Local farmers, fishermen, cheese-makers, and brandy and cider producers dress up in traditional Normandy costumes, offering free tastings from stalls while visitors choose what to buy. Don’t leave without trying the creamy, aged Camemberts and fresh local oysters.
Halfway between Paris and the sea, Rouen is a port of call for both river and ocean cruise ships. Surrounded by stunning cliffs, forests and many picturesque towns, it is one of the most popular stops on the Seine River.
The main port is located on the Seine’s right bank, below the Gustave Flaubert Bridge at 34 Boulevard de Boisguilbert. Occasionally, cruise ships dock out of town, offering bus transfers to the centre of Rouen.
Facilities near the port in Rouen include:
- Tourist information centres
- Public toilets
- Restaurants and cafés
- Souvenir stores
- Bank and ATMs
- Medical centre and pharmacy
- Post office.
How To Get Around
Not only is Rouen small enough to navigate on foot, but the tall spires of the Cathedral Tower act as a point of reference, making it easy for those unfamiliar with the town to stay oriented. Cy’clic machines allow you to rent bikes using your credit card from 14 locations around town. Rouen also has a comprehensive metrobus and light rail network. A fun option is to take a ride on a horse-drawn wagon through the centre of Rouen past all the main attractions.
Travel times from the ports of Rouen:
- It is a 23 minute journey to Rouen Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre Dame)
- It is a 23 minute journey to Musee des Beaux-Arts
- It is a 24 minute journey to Dame Cakes.
- It is a 6 minute journey to Rouen Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre Dame)
- It is a 6 minute journey to Musee des Beaux-Artsole Strasse
- It is an 8 minute journey to Dame Cakes.
- It is a 9 minute journey to Rouen Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre Dame)
- It is a 9 minute journey to Musee des Beaux-Artsole Strasse
- It is a 13 minute journey to Dame Cakes.
Currency – The currency in Rouen is the Euro (€). Notes come in €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, and €500 denominations. Coins come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent and €1 and €2 denominations.
Time Zone – Rouen follows Central European Time (CET), which is one hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC); daylight savings changes Rouen to two hours ahead of UTC between March and October.
Weather – Rouen has a mild, humid temperate climate with warm summers and mild winters. July is the hottest month in Rouen, with temperatures averaging at 17 degrees Celsius. January is the coolest month, with temperatures averaging at 3 degrees Celsius.
Rouen Cathedral – With an ornate Gothic stone façade and the tallest spire in France, the Cathedral is visible from almost anywhere in Rouen. The interior has 14 giant pillars and a huge collection of statues. Along with tombs of various Renaissance cardinals, you’ll find the heart of Richard the Lion-hearted, while the Palais de l’Archevêché, or Archbishop’s Palace, is where the trial of Joan of Arc was held. Music and lights are projected on the Cathedral’s façade each evening from June to September for a free sound and light show.
Musee des Beaux-Arts – This gallery houses one of the most significant collections of sculpture, paintings, drawings and art in France. Covering all the artistic schools, the museum houses a comprehensive record of art from the present day all the way back to the 15th century. With works by Caravaggio, Rubens, Renoir and Monet (including several paintings of the local Cathedral), it’s a spectacular place to soak up some culture.
Dame Cakes – Behind an elegant early 1900s façade lies a scrumptious range of cakes, chocolates and plenty of pastries. Order a giant grand-mere (grandmother) hot chocolate to sip alongside traditional madeleines, tarte tatins and crumbles. The upstairs level has a lovely view of Rouen Cathedral. If you’d prefer a light lunch, try the quiches, salads and gratins.